Dollar Loan Center Founder Charles Brennan answers questions about how his business grew from a one-room, closet sized office in Las Vegas, Nevada to be the most trusted name in the short-term subprime lending market on the West Coast.
Interviews and News: When was the Dollar Loan Center opened in Las Vegas, Nevada?
Charles Brennan: I opened the first location in 1998 in a small little place in the worst part of Las Vegas, Nevada. I was the General Manager of a collection agency at the time and converted a 400 square foot closet into my first Dollar Loan Center.
Interviews and News: Dollar Loan Center has grown rapidly for a business in the financial services industry. What is your secret to success?
Charles Brennan: Branding; definitely branding. My background includes extensive experience marketing rock concerts. What I learned from that was to market aggressively and get your name out there—to everyone, on everything.
Interviews and News: So, you start out small. You blitz Las Vegas, Nevada with the name. But what does Dollar Loan Center offer that has helped it to maintain such popularity?
Charles Brennan: It’s very simple: a good product. We are a signature loan firm, which means that we don’t take collateral like the title loan companies or require a checking account like payday loan companies. We are very professional and maintain contact with our customers. When we have to, though, we have a very effective collections process.
Interviews and News: Is Dollar Loan Center an alternative to traditional pay day loan centers?
Charles Brennan: Yes, instead of an up-front fee, we offer an interest-incurring short-term line of credit.
Interviews and News: Isn’t that more expensive?
Charles Brennan: Actually it is not. We have very meticulous underwriting and collections efforts. Because we stay on top of things, we can offer a fair interest rate versus a high up-front fee and collateral. We are about half the price of the average payday loan company.
Interviews and News: How many stores do you have now, besides the original Las Vegas, Nevada location?
Charles Brennan: We started last year, 2012, with 50 locations and ended with 80. It was a major growth year for us as we added 23 brand new locations in Los Angeles, CA.
Interviews and News: How have you grown so steadily?
Charles Brennan: Much of our growth was organic, meaning that there was more of a demand for our product further than the reaches of our original Las Vegas, Nevada location. We have also purchased several “mom and pop” loan centers.
Interviews and News: Dollar Loan Center is fairly new to California, isn’t it?
Charles Brennan: Yes, we expanded to California in 2012 and plan to take the state by storm in the near future. In fact, we already have 23 stores in the Sunshine State.
Interviews and News: Why California versus Oregon or Washington?
Charles Brennan: It was the next natural expansion spot for Dollar Loan Center where over a quarter of the population doesn’t rely on traditional banking.
Interviews and News: How does that affect Dollar Loan Center?
Charles Brennan: We can provide credit to these folks in real time and at a reasonable rate. Our signature loans (loans up to $2,500) are payable over the course of a year or as little as a day. The customer chooses how long they keep the loan out and how much interest they will pay.
Interviews and News: Before we go, what are some of the fees Dollar Loan Center charges?
Charles Brennan: It is interest only. We don’t nickel-and-dime our valued clients. No application fee, no origination fee, and no prepayment fee means that our customers have more money to begin paying the balance instead of wasting their hard-earned cash on unnecessary fees.
Interviews and News: Sounds like you have this loan thing down.
Charles Brennan: I have spent fifteen years making Dollar Loan Center the place to turn to for cash emergencies. Although with my allergies the Rodeo makes me sneeze a lot, this is definitely not my first Rodeo in the finance world.
Las Vegas, Nevada resident Charles Brennan has enjoyed a career path that could just as easily have been a movie plot. From starting his first business in grade school, to moonlighting as a collections agent for Citibank during high school, to traveling the Midwest as a Rock ‘n Roll concert promoter, Dollar Loan Center founder Charles Brennan has had his fair share of ups and downs. Fortunately, for his 400+ employees, Brennan seems to have found his place on top and continues to outshine the competition.